At first glance, the 2014 Farm Bill may look like business as usual. But there is also some good news for local food advocates buried deep in the $956 billion bill, and a new pilot program that promises to place more local produce in schools is worth applauding. Starting next school year, these programs would… Read More
For years, Atlantic bluefin tuna has been the very definition of the seafood red list. And the decision by the high-end restaurant Nobu to continue selling the sought-after, but threatened delicacy has received a great deal of criticism from activists and celebrities alike. (It’s also on Barry Estabrook’s Five Things I Will Not Eat list.)… Read More
As a former vegetarian who has evolved into an ethical omnivore, I’m glad that nose-to-tail dining has taken off. I only began eating meat once more pasture-raised meat from humane sources became readily available and I believe that to eat meat, we should use every bit and scrap of an animal that gave its life… Read More
Locavoracious appetites and a back-to-the-land ethos have raised bespoke urban farming to the status of high fashion, especially if the land sits atop an industrial building in one of Brooklyn’s hipster havens. To many, growing food in the city is an exercise for gourmands, measured by the distance heirloom tomatoes, artisanal honey, and free-range eggs travel from farm to plate. Urban agriculture pioneers have repurposed vacant land, greened the city, created community space, and introduced city dwellers to fresh local food. Terroir is now measured by block and lot number.
But this is not the whole story. In fact, as practiced in farms and gardens in New York and elsewhere, urban agriculture is as much about social justice as it is about the quality or proximity of produce.
As Executive Director and co-founder of the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC), Lindsey Lusher Shute has united thousands of farmer-activists and supporters from all 50 states. NYFC is now in its fifth year of advocating for beginning farmers, helping them overcome significant hurdles.
Shute has a history of agricultural action: Before starting NYFC, she transformed an abandoned lot in Brooklyn into a flourishing community garden. Along with running the Coalition, she and her husband, Ben, are raising two daughters while farming 25 acres of vegetables and managing a flock of laying hens and a dozen pigs on Hearty Roots Community Farm in New York’s Hudson Valley. We talked with Shute about her work.
1. USDA Criticized for “Misleading” Claims about Worker Safety in Poultry Plants (Washington Post)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) plan to speed up poultry processing lines by up to 25 percent has faced fierce opposition from food safety, worker rights, and animal rights advocates since the proposal was first floated in 2012. Now, the agency is under fire from another federal agency, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), for claiming that a recent NIOSH study shows that increased line speeds pose no additional risk to workers. NIOSH Director Josh Howard has called USDA’s conclusion “misleading.” The study, which found that rates of carpal tunnel syndrome among workers in one South Carolina poultry plant stayed roughly the same over a ten month period, is simply not extensive enough to substantiate USDA’s claims.
Wal-Mart announced last week that it will soon start partnering with Wild Oats to sell organic pantry items like tomato paste and broth at prices as low as 25 percent below other name-brand organic products. What could be wrong with that? In the short term, probably nothing. But in the long term, it could ultimately enable the mega-retailer to dominate the organic market the way it dominates whole swaths of the retail economy, from razor blades to recycling bins.
Most Americans would prefer to know whether or not they’re eating genetically engineered foods (commonly referred to as GMOs). According to some polls, as many as 93 percent of us would like to see them labeled. But there’s one group committed to ensuring that such labels never grace supermarket shelves.
This article was published in the March-April 2014 edition of Edible Manhattan.
Prior to grad school at Parsons, Maya Weinstein’s mediums included fine art photography and digital collage. But for her master’s thesis she settled on a stickier subject: High-fructose corn syrup.
“There are a lot of videos and articles on the web that talk about how scary and bad HFCS is for you, but there’s not really any information about what it actually is or how it’s made,” says Weinstein, a recent graduate of the School of Art, Media and Technology at Parsons the New School for Design. “I saw a void there that I wanted to fill.”
A new national grassroots campaign is aiming to boost awareness of the public health threat of antibiotic overuse in livestock production.
It’s been over a year since Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) introduced the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA), a bill that would ban the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in livestock. And it’s been almost 10 months since Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced a similar bill in the Senate. Both bills remain stalled in their respective committees, however.